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May 8, 2014

Sergio Garcia


SERGIO GARCIA:  Sergio, so how did you play together?
DOUG MILNE:  We're just going to let him start out.  Sergio Garcia, thank you for joining us, 5‑under 67 today in round 1 of the of THE PLAYERS Championship.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Thank you.
DOUG MILNE:  You are a past champion.  That being said, just some comments on round 1 today.
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, it was a nice day, no doubt.  Started very well, obviously got to 6‑under after 13, and just a shame‑‑ I hit a good putt on 5 for par, and it was playing tough.  Unfortunately it lipped out and then had a couple chances that I didn't convert.  You know, I can't be disappointed with 5‑under.
DOUG MILNE:  You mentioned 9 to Kelly a few minutes ago.  Can you take us through the 9th hole?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, probably the worst thing that I did to start with there is not hit 5‑wood.  I should have hit like a hard 5‑wood, and if I hit it in the left bunker, it's fine.  But I tried to hit‑‑ I thought that maybe it wouldn't carry, and I tried to hit like a really high, soft 3‑wood and came out of it and went up in the crowd.
Then the tent was in my way, so I took relief from that, but I was also on a path, on a path of one of the air‑conditioning machines from that tent, so I took relief from casual water, left myself quite a difficult up‑and‑down.  I mean, it was okay to make 5, but it would have taken a really, really good chip or good putt to make 4, and unfortunately hit it a little bit and got up‑and‑down for 5.  I would have loved to birdie that hole after that tee shot.
But it's a very narrow entrance to that green, so it's not that easy to hit there in two.

Q.  When the weather is like this and the greens are as soft as they are, is there really anything that they can do to hold back the scoring?  Do you think that if the weather stays the same that you guys are going to be doing what you've done so far?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, I wouldn't say maybe as well as this.  Usually the scoring goes up as the week goes on, on average.  But obviously like you said, if the greens stay fairly soft like they are, because I'm not sure they can get them much firmer because of the problems that they've had with them, it obviously gives you a lot more opportunities to score.  Some of the pins are easy to get to.  Even if you hit it in the rough, you're allowed or you're able to stop it a little bit quicker than you were in the past.
It definitely takes a couple shots away I would say, but you still have to play well to be able to score.

Q.  At a tournament like this, does high scoring reflect in any way negatively on the tournament or the course, or low scoring?  If the guys shoot too many good numbers, is that a good thing or a bad thing for the prestige of the tournament?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, it depends on who you ask.  I've always liked this tournament because of what it is, because it's usually not a long course but it plays hard.  I won with 5‑under.  There's guys that have won it with even or 1‑under.  Then there's a couple times where guys have shot 14‑, 15‑, 24‑under or something like that like Norman did.
But for the most part, usually if the weather is right and it plays right, it's the kind of tournament that gets won between 7‑ and 12‑under par, which I think is a great score for a high‑quality golf course and high‑quality tournament.

Q.  Still good feelings, good vibrations here even after the disappointing finish last year?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah, for the most part.  Obviously I played pretty good, not amazing.  But yeah, I think that when you come to a golf course where you feel a little bit more comfortable, where there's obviously a couple shots there that are not my favorite, but other than that, for the most part I can see what I want to do, and that obviously makes it a little bit easier to make my mind up.
Yeah, it was nice to be able to play like I did today, and I'm just looking forward to hopefully doing a lot more of the same throughout the weekend.

Q.  You seem like you're in a happy place in your life.  If so, how did you get there?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, I'm right next to Doug.
DOUG MILNE:  Finally, finally somebody realized it.  (Laughter.)
SERGIO GARCIA:  He just extends good energy.
No, you go through up and downs in your life, in your career, and I've had really, really good times, really, really happy times, and then I've had times that were a little bit more down.  It's just the way of life.  I think it happens to all of us.
You've got to try to enjoy those good times as much as possible and learn from the tough ones and hopefully make them as short as possible.  I think at the end of the day, that's all you can really do.

Q.  Yesterday when you were at the Kid Zone you really looked like you were in your element.  What is it about being around youngsters that makes you so comfortable?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I don't know.  I've always enjoyed kids.  I've always enjoyed being around kids.  Obviously I don't have any of my own yet, but my nephew, friends' kids, from my manager, from family and cousins and stuff like that, I've always enjoyed it.  I don't know what it is.  I seem to have a fairly good connection with them.  I try to be as open as possible to them, and they seem to welcome me quite nicely.  Kids are going to tell you everything exactly how it is.  They're not going to go around any corners.  They're going to go straight at you.  I enjoy that, and I think they enjoy me, so that's great.  Hopefully when I have my own, hopefully they'll be the same.

Q.  You went back home for a little while.  How much golf was involved and how much just vacation?  Anything special you did while you were gone?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, I did kind of relax for probably about a week when I went back to Europe.  Kathy and I, we went to our place in Switzerland, which was great, and we did hiking and badminton, so it was nice to disconnect a little bit, and then I started practicing again probably about 10 days ago and trying to get ready for this week and the next two that I have coming.  It was pretty much that, and it was nice.

Q.  Who wins at badminton?
SERGIO GARCIA:  At the moment she does, 2‑2‑1, but I'm coming back.

Q.  Speaking of ups and downs, you were largely painted as a villain during your back‑and‑forth with Tiger last year.  How do you look back on that experience?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I think it's over.  I think it's past.  I didn't think I was a villain, but I think that we've all moved ahead of that.  I certainly have.  I'm just looking forward to now and hopefully what's coming soon.

Q.  You've been around a long time now‑‑
SERGIO GARCIA:  Thank you.

Q.  The way you're handling even that question, the ups are not as high and the lows are not as low as they used to be?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Well, they are tough.  I mean, the highs are always nice, but the lows are always difficult because when you know that you can do something the way that you know how to do it and you're not able to do it, it is a little bit frustrating.  But I guess it happens to everybody.  Everybody that is decent at something, when they're not able to do it as well as they know they can do it, they get a little frustrated.
I mean, I think it happens to me and it happens to everybody.  At the end of the day, like I said before, the most important thing is to learn from those moments and try to make them shorter as your career goes on.

Q.  At 17 you got up there, you were second to hit, I think, one practice swing, a couple of waggles and you let go of it.  Was that a conscious thing on your part to just get up there and hit it?  Were you thinking at all about last year?
SERGIO GARCIA:  It did cross my mind; I'm not going to lie to you.  I was trying to be positive.  It's a new year; let's improve on it.  I pulled it a little bit there, but it was an okay shot.  You know, I was able to do much better there and much better on 18, so I was very happy to see that.

Q.  And what did you think you did the best today?  What are you most happy with about your game overall?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I think I putted nicely.  I think I chipped pretty good.  But I drove the ball for the most part quite well.  I wouldn't say I only missed probably four fairways or something like that, so that's always nice to see on a golf course like this.  And then my iron play was fairly good.  I didn't really miss that many greens.  Probably maybe missed five greens or something like that.  On these small greens it's always nice to do.

Q.  Talking about good times and bad times, can you play good golf when you're going through a bad time?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yes, I would say so, but on spots.  Depending you wake up one night and you feel a little bit better.  But it's a lot more spotty than when you're feeling good.  Mainly because I think when you're going through a rough patch, you seem to‑‑ I wouldn't say give up, but you seem to not fight as hard, like when you're going through a good time, you make a bogey, and you're like, you're not happy about it, but you're like, let's try to get it back.  When you're going through a bad patch, you make a bogey, and it's like, oh, here we go again.  I don't know, the mind is a beautiful thing.

Q.  Can you give me an example of when you played good golf when you were going through a bad time?
SERGIO GARCIA:  I think I've had‑‑ I don't know.  Fortunately it's been pretty good for the last four years I would say.  I don't know, probably maybe comes to mind maybe last year when everything went on with the little problem with Tiger.  I think that was tough.  I think, for example, the U.S. Open, I played really well but I had‑‑ every day I had like a couple of holes that were, poof, and that's what put me out of the tournament.  It's kind of that little bit of that mix.

Q.  Was that recovery shot on 12 as difficult as it looked like?
SERGIO GARCIA:  (Laughing) Well, I mean, I was very fortunate to start with because I hit a terrible tee shot.  But I had a swing.  I had a little bit of a gap.  I had probably about a foot, foot and a half between two trees.  I needed to hit‑‑ I think I had 136 to the hole.  I needed to hit like a soft cutty 9‑iron through two trees and kind of cut it a little bit and try to launch it on and roll it up a little bit, and it just came out perfect.  Obviously I was hoping to hit it close, but I was trying to hit it on the green, maybe just left of the pin and maybe go.  A par would have been great, and I was fortunate enough to make 3, so that was quite nice, yeah.

Q.  Any thought of punching out, or was that full go?
SERGIO GARCIA:  No, no.  I mean, I could get to the green.  I could get‑‑ or around it.  I could get maybe just left of the green if I didn't cut it.  You know, it wasn't like I didn't have a shot at all.  It wasn't easy.  It wasn't like a huge gap, but because it was fairly close to me, I knew that I could get it through.  If it would have been 20 yards farther away, then it would have been tougher to get it through a small gap like that.

Q.  You mentioned the highs and lows of playing this game.  Were one of those lows when you said you didn't think you could win a major, and do you still feel that way?
SERGIO GARCIA:  Yeah.  I mean, that definitely was one of those days where you feel disappointed, where you just come off the course and you didn't manage to do what you thought you could do or get what you thought you could get out of that round.  But like I said, it was one of those moments where you kind of‑‑ things going on in your head, and it just explodes and you feel like you have to say it.
No, I think that when I'm on, I can definitely win anywhere.  I think I've proven that.  It's just a matter of getting that week where you feel good, where you feel comfortable, where things go your way, where everything feels relaxed, everything feels at ease, and you manage to do things the way you know how to do them.  I'm still waiting for that particular week.  I've had, I would say, probably four really good chances, and I'm hoping that I can get many more until I quit playing.
DOUG MILNE:  Sergio, as always, we appreciate your time.

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